It was a Tuesday morning and my ship, USS David R. Ray, was somewhere out in the Pacific off the coast of South America. We didn't get that great satellite service, but somehow we got a message through message traffic that the U.S. was under attack. We turned the TV on and me and a few others sat in disbelief watching the first tower on fire. Then, we saw live the second plane hit the second tower. It was unreal and very hard to believe.
I was on my second ship, USS Lassen, during the 1-year anniversary of 9-11-01, and I remember the XO, CDR Tom Druggan (who was at the Pentagon during the attack the year prior) on the 1MC. I think I was on watch at the time, so I was on the bridge wing. I remember him choking up giving a remembrance announcement. This day has always been very emotional for every American.
I look down at my daughter and she asks why I have tears in my eyes. Do I tell her what horrific thing happened to the USA 10 years ago??? I want to shield her and my boys from the possibilities of evil and raise them to be non-judgemental people with open hearts and open minds. Do I tell them what is significant about this day? Do I tell them of the loved ones lost? Of the almost 3000 people who died in the twin towers, pentagon and Shanksville? It is a tough decision for me, as a parent.
So, I am taking her with me to volunteer at the Heroes 9-11 run today. I will try and hold back tears, because nothing happened to me or my family, but it is hard not to think of the possibilities of some evil people out there...I try not to think about what if...it's hard.
Anyway, today is also my sister-in-laws birthday, and we try and focus on more positive things and to teach our children about duty, courage, respect for others and love of country. We are proud to be Americans.